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Sex Crimes: Patronizing a Prostitute
Prostitution remains illegal in the state of New York, and there are many charges someone seeking the services of a prostitute may face. Prostitution encompasses more than interactions with a streetwalker. Escort services and massage parlors often serve as fronts for prostitution. Regardless of the circumstances, anyone who pays for or attempts to pay for a sexual act may face charges of “Patronizing a Prostitute” under New York State law.
Legal matters and statutes related to prostitution appear under New York Penal Law section 230.00. Anyone with concerns about charges associated with Patronizing a Prostitute should review the statute pertaining to the charge. Of course, reading state law isn’t enough when facing criminal charges. Seeking representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney, one with extensive experience representing clients facing prostitution-related charges, becomes necessary when hoping to mount a viable defense against the charges.
Solicitation and Payments
Solicitation refers to making a direct offer to pay someone for sexual services. Many people not versed with the law assume they must hand over money for the services for the charges to become valid. That is not the case. The act of solicitation is enough to face charges. Not actually making a payment is irrelevant per the law. Similarly, a person need not perform a sexual act for Patronizing a Prostitute charges to have validity. Again, the act of offering payment is a violation of the law and enough to warrant arrest.
Patronizing a Prostitute: Felony vs. Misdemeanor
Sections 230.04, 230.05, and 230.06 describe whether someone faces misdemeanor or felony charges. Ultimately, the basis for the charges centers on the age of the prostitute. The more serious the offense, the greater the penalty. Specifically, the statute defines the crimes as follows:
Charges at the level of a class A misdemeanor, patronizing a prostitute in the third degree, involve someone over the age of 21 patronizing someone who is under the age of 17. Charges at the level of a class E felony, patronizing a prostitute in the second degree, involve someone over the age of 18 patronizing an individual who is under the age of 15. Charges at the level of a class D felony, patronizing a prostitute in the first degree, involve a person 18 years of age or older patronizing an individual who is less than 13 years old; or involve someone patronizing an individual who is under the age of 11. The age of the person patronizing the minor under 11 years is irrelevant.
The Penalties for Patronizing a Prostitute
Once again, the penalties levied at someone found guilty or pleading guilty or no-contest to patronizing a prostitute depend on the severity of the crime. Is it a class A misdemeanor or a class E or D felony?
Anyone convicted of a class A misdemeanor faces a maximum of one year in jail or three years of probation. A fine of up to $1,000 could be imposed, as well.
A conviction of patronizing a prostitute in the second degree comes with the potential sentence of four years in prison. As for patronizing a prostitute in the first degree, a conviction presents a possible maximum sentence of seven years. Prior felony convictions do factor into increased sentencings.
Defenses to Patronizing a Prostitute
Defenses to patronizing a prostitute vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Insufficient evidence and entrapment rank as two possible defenses. The admissibility of evidence could be questioned by a competent defense attorney, as well.
The public does need to be aware law enforcement officials continually run sting operations to arrest “johns.” Vice squad officers have significant experience running these stings, meaning mistakes could be rare. When facing an uphill battle in court, a defense attorney may be able to plea bargain the charges. Also, the attorney might request leniency in sentencing, which could lead to a reduction in the penalty.
Discuss Matters with an Attorney
Facing charges for patronizing a prostitute, whether on the misdemeanor or felony level, is serious. A conviction leads to a criminal record, one that stays with you for life. Meeting with an attorney to discuss the charges and a viable defense should be a top priority.